1st T20I Date: Wednesday, August 30 (Chester-le-Street)
2nd T20I Date: Friday, September 1 (Old Trafford)
3rd T20I Date: Sunday, September 3 (Edgbaston)
4th T20I Date: Tuesday, September 5 (Trent Bridge)
BetXchange 1st T20I Odds:
This should be a fun little four-match series that sees the defending T20 world champions host a New Zealand side that always seems to play above the level of its individual players when representing the national side.
England have had to make a couple of changes from their initially named squad for this series. Josh Tounge and John Turner were both ruled out through injury, with Chris Jordan and Brydon Carse called up as replacements. The loss of Turner from the squad is particularly unfortunate, with the 22-year-old seamer expected to make his England T20 debut here. He had impressed both in the T20 Blast and The Hundred, but a side issue means that his international bow will have to come later.
England looks to be as strong as ever in the batting attack. Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, and Dawid Milan are all experienced top-order guys capable of slogging for 100+ any and every time out. They also have Jarry Brook in the middle order, fresh from his dominant hundred in domestic play.
The issue England has for this series is that their normally formidable pace attack has been shorn of a number of weapons. Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, and Jofra Archer are all missing, and while this gives a chance for others to step up at the highest level, there is no doubt that New Zealand will fancy their chances of putting up decent scores with the bat.
New Zealand have also had to change from their original squad for this T20I series. All-rounder Jimmy Neesham was ruled out as he returned home for the birth of his first child, and Cole McConchie has replaced him in the New Zealand T20I party.
Neesham is not the only Black Caps regular to miss out on this series. Pacer Trent Boult and batsman Kane Williamson are also missing, meaning that this is a squad with an eye on experimentation with the 2023 ODI World Cup just around the corner.
New Zealand would appear – on paper – to pack more of a bowling punch. The likes of Time Southee, Lockie Ferguson, and Matt Henry should all play well enough to minimize the loss of Boult.
It is worth noting how the pitch at Chester-le-Street played in the recent season of The Hundred. It was tough for teams to get past 160 with the bat, while no team could get past 180. While the T20 format usually swings to the team with the heaviest bats – which would be England – the comparative lack of runs on this wicket makes the first T20I the one the Black Caps would seem most set up to steal from their hosts.
In the props markets, Brook is worth a flyer at 5/1 to be the top home batsman, while Henry at 33/10 is also worth a punt as the best bowler for New Zealand in my eyes.